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Water Conservation Rebate Program

The Water Conservation Rebate Program is 75% sold out!  

The 2018 Residential Water Conservation Rebate Program started on May 1, 2018.  Hurry and get your receipts and/or photos submitted via the Water Conservation Rebate application form soon so that you don't miss out!   

There is still time in the season to plant perennials, trees, and shrubs! Fall is also a great time to put mulch around your plants and to over-seed your lawn with drought tolerant grass seed.

For questions regarding the program please email Environment and Sustainability or call 403-995-6316.  

Water Conservation Rebate F.A.Q.'s
What is the Rebate Program?
The Town of Okotoks is offering a water conservation rebate program to incentivize and reward residents for their efforts towards water conservation. Reducing water consumption is critical for Okotoks, as our community’s demand for water peaks during the summer months when the Sheep River aquifer provides the least resources.
When is the Rebate Program offered?

The 2018 program is being offered from May 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 on a first-come, first-served basis until the fund is fully depleted. Your rebate will be reflected on your Town of Okotoks bimonthly Utility Account.

What items qualify for the 2018 Water Rebate Program?

Drought Tolerant Ground Cover or Turf

Drought tolerant grass seed, sod and hydro-seed are eligible for the rebate program if they are TWCA-certified and/or composition consists of less than 30% of Kentucky Blue Grass.

Note: proof of composition required. Please provide ingredients section of the bag or provide a product composition list from the supplier.

A 50% rebate for total cost of purchase up to a maximum rebate of $200 per household.

Organic and Inorganic Mulch

 

All forms of organic and inorganic mulch that are used for landscaping/ground cover:

Organic examples: bark shavings, nuggets, wood chips mixes

Inorganic examples: rock mixes, shale

Note: The purpose of the mulch must be to provide groundcover in areas that may normally be turf, to reduce a need for water. Does not include mulch for areas under structures. Mulch must be permeable; non-permeable surfaces such as pavers are not accepted.

A 50% rebate for total cost of purchase up to a maximum rebate of $200 per household.

Rain Barrels

Residential or commercial rain barrel, any type.

A 50% rebate per rain barrel up to a maximum of $50/barrel. Maximum rebate of $200/household.

Rain Sensor and/or  WaterSense® labelled irrigation controller

 

Rebate provided for the installation of a rain sensor that suspends the irrigation schedule during a rain event and/or WaterSense® labelled irrigation controller. Rebate available for new irrigation installations and existing irrigation systems.

Note: Installation must be done by a professional irrigation contractor. Product spec sheet must be attached to form.

A 50% rebate for total cost of purchase up to a maximum rebate of $200 per household.

Drought Tolerant Plants, Shrubs, and Trees

 

NEW!!

 

 

Rebates provided for approved drought tolerant and deer resistant perennial plants, shrubs, and trees.

Only items listed on the drought tolerant plant list will be eligible for rebate. Plants going into pots/containers are not eligible.

Approved plant list

Note: Picture of plant and highly visible plant identifier tag/label, and before/after picture of garden areas must be submitted (pots/planters excluded from rebate). Mulch must be added around new plants and shown in ‘after picture’ for rebate to be awarded.

A 50% rebate for total cost of purchase up to a maximum rebate of $200 per household.

Residential Rainwater Harvesting System

Rebate for systems that include larger residential scaled tank systems/cisterns that collect a minimum of 4,546 litres (1,000 gallons) of rainwater. Other collection system expenses such as transport piping, debris traps, filters, pumps and installation costs are eligible for rebate.

Note: Pre-approval from the Town required. Please contact the Sustainability Coordinator at 403.938.8901

A 50% rebate for total cost of installed rainwater harvesting system up to a maximum rebate of $750 per household.

Xeriscaping Pilot Program

LIMITED AVAILABILITY

NEW!!

 

Rebate provided for pre-approved xeriscaping project where a minimum of 500 ft² area becomes xeriscaped landscape and 50% of new xeriscape area is drought tolerant plants. Rebate includes soil amendment, turf removal, drought tolerant plants and mulch/ground cover. New and existing homes eligible.

Note: Pre-approval from the Town required. Up to 3 projects will be approved in 2018. Please apply online and, if necessary, contact Environment & Sustainability at 403.995.6316.

A 50% rebate for total cost of project up to a maximum of $1000 per household.

Rebate does not include the cost of installation of rebate items.

*Please note that 2017 was the final year for a rebate on a WaterSense certified high efficiency low flow toilet and will not be offered this year.

Who qualifies for the Rebate Program?
Rebates are available for Town of Okotoks residential property owners, and renters, who are connected to the Town’s water distribution system. The rebate is a maximum of $200/household for approved water conservation purchases, not including the Rainwater Harvesting System or the Xeriscape Pilot program.
How Do I Apply for a Rebate?

Starting May 1, 2018, complete an online application form.

Water Rebate Application Form

Paper forms for the Water Conservation Rebate are available upon request at the Municipal Centre, starting May 1, 2018. Complete applications will be processed on the date received.

Include a sales receipt and any additional required documentation with your application form. Items purchased as of January 1, 2018 are eligible.

Additional Details and Requirements
  • Available to Okotoks water utility customers (homeowners and renters)
  • Rebates offered on a first-come, first-served basis as applications are received (date stamped)
  • Rebates are provided through the Town of Okotoks bi-monthly utility bill (cheque provided to renters)
  • Shipping, installation and GST not included in rebate 
  • Proof of purchase required
  • Several items require additional specification information with application form
  • Only fully completed applications will be processed
Guide to the Xeriscape Pilot Program Rebate

Note: The Pilot is currently full but we are still taking applications for the waiting list for the current year. If participating applicants drop out of the program, the next applicant will be contacted.

What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping means water-wise or water-efficient landscaping. It involves choosing plants that are appropriate to dry climates and providing healthy growing conditions.  Xeriscaping creates an environmentally friendly and beautiful landscape that can be maintained with little or no supplementary watering once plants are established.

The word ‘xeriscape’ might bring a picture of a desert-like landscape or a rock garden to mind but a xeriscape landscape can be beautiful, lush, and green.  The combination of thoughtful landscape design, good soil, well placed trees, shrubs, and perennials, and a thick layer of mulch will yield a low-maintenance and eye-appealing yard.

Steps to the Xeriscape Pilot Program Rebate
  1. Fill out the Xeriscape Pilot Program pre-application form. Only 3 rebates of $1,000 are available this year.
  2. The first three applicants will be called by a Town staff member in order to book a preliminary yard inspection. Please note that applicants have 10 weeks to complete the project from the time of pre-approval.
  3. The xeriscaping project must be a minimum of 500 ft² in area and 50% of the new xeriscape area must consist of drought tolerant plants.

Note: A fully xeriscaped front yard project area under 500 ft² would be considered; Mature plant size is considered for the 50% xeriscape area qualification.

  1. Pre-inspection: A pre-inspection of the site will be done to ensure that the intended xeriscape project meets the specifications laid out by the Town.
  2. Consult the Xeriscape Pilot Program checklist (given to applicant) for next steps.
  3. Develop a landscape design.
  4. Book a meeting with Planning Services to ensure bylaw compliance.
  5. Finalize the landscape design and submit to Planning Services.
  6. After approval is received, start your project!
  7. Items eligible for the rebate are: drought tolerant/deer resistant plants (see Drought Tolerant Plant List), soil amendment, mulch, turf removal, and rockery.
  8. Please keep receipts for all of these items. Because of how plants are itemized on receipts, please highlight purchased plants (pot-sizes and quantities) on receipt. 
  9. Please note that a mulch depth of 2 inches over entire xeriscape area, and a depth of 4 inches around tree and root area is mandatory for this rebate program.
  10. Book post-inspection with Environment and Sustainability staff member.
  11. Complete online rebate application.
  12. Once the completed project is approved, your rebate will appear on your utility bill.

* Xeriscaping Pilot rebate does not include artificial turf, concrete, pathways, arbors, pergolas, or decking.

How is the Xeriscape Pilot Program different from the drought tolerant plant rebate being offered?

Xeriscaping does not mean adding drought tolerant plants to existing garden spaces.  Xeriscaping includes removing a large area of turf, like a front yard lawn, and replacing it with native and/or drought tolerant plants.  It includes amending the soil depth and quality, so that plants will thrive in dry conditions, and adding a thick layer of mulch so that moisture doesn’t evaporate.  The goal of a xeriscape landscape is to have a yard space that is self-sufficient, low-maintenance, and beautiful.

Why is creating a xeriscape landscape important?

With growing demands on water supply and potential droughts, it is everyone’s responsibility to rethink appropriate water use. As over 30% of summer residential water is utilized on lawns and gardens, xeriscaping can play a significant role in reducing potable (treated) water consumption. By using less water in yards, we ensure that there will always be enough potable water for basic use in our homes.

Benefits of Xeriscaping

Less watering…drought tolerant plants can thrive on 40-60% less water than typical plants!

Less weeding…weeds are impeded by a thick layer of mulch and lack of water!

Less fertilizing…drought tolerant plants have deep root growth enabling them to get nutrients deep in the soil.

Less pesticides…by planting a diverse xeriscape of drought tolerant plants, a wider range of critters will find a home and keep the ‘pests’ in balance.

Less mowing…a xeriscape landscape can have no turf which means more time for weekend fun and less time with the lawn mower.

Why are plants that are both deer resistant and drought tolerant being recommended?

Deer resistant plants are less likely to be eaten by deer but, depending on the variety, may have high watering needs.  Drought tolerant plants use a lot less water but may have a greater chance of being eaten by deer.

A plant that is both deer resistant and drought tolerant will thrive in your yard in moist and dry conditions with a reduced threat of being eaten. No one likes to see a once beautiful plant reduced to inch-high stems. Planting drought tolerant and deer resistant plants means retaining curb appeal all season long!

Benefits of deer resistant plants…Using deer resistant plants in your yard will decrease close encounters with deer, and help keep deer populations within normal parameters.

7 Principles of Xeriscaping

Planning

Work with your space (topography, sun exposure and soil). Group drought tolerant plants in areas with full day sun; give less tolerant plants some partial shade and keep the more delicate or demanding plants for a spot near your water source or an area that may be wetter due to run-off and topography.

Top Soil

Preparing the soil in advance will help plants get established and provide good nutrients as the landscape matures. You want to have 12 inches of topsoil. Adding screened loam and incorporating organic matter will improve water penetration and retention in any type of soil. Rich, loose, water holding soil will encourage good root development and lessen the plant’s need for supplemental water.

Vegetation Selection

Selecting plants that thrive in our area during dry periods will give you the best results. This often includes native plants but can include non-native species. Drought tolerant plants can be aggressive so be careful about invasive tendencies which can create maintenance problems or threaten native ecosystems. 

Mulch

Mulch is created naturally by leaves dropping and plants dying. Try to leave naturally occurring mulch on the soil or use other mulches like leaves, grass clippings, straw or decomposed bark mulch. Mulch moderates soil temperature, holds moisture, slows erosion and suppresses weeds that would compete with your plants for food and water. Apply about 3 - 4 inches of mulch at the initial planting and replenish annually or as needed. Be careful not to cover the base of the trunk on trees and shrubs to avoid decay and rodent problems.

Turf Areas

You should determine how much lawn should be part of your initial design plan, taking into consideration what you plan to use your lawn for. Assess the amounts of sun, moisture and traffic to determine the appropriate grass mix.

Water

Not all plants need the same amount of water. If only a few plants require water, hand watering may be an effective means. Rootzone irrigation systems on or under the soil are often the most efficient. Water is released at slower rates encouraging the water and roots to go deeper into the soil. This helps plants withstand dry periods as the roots are down where evaporation rates are slower. Root zone systems also have fewer losses to wind and evaporation. If watering above the soil, use sprinklers that distribute large droplets low to the ground. Manually watering with soaker hoses or a slow trickle from the end of the hose is also effective. Avoid watering during hot, dry, windy periods of the day and water in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Water based on the needs of the plants and follow the Town of Okotoks watering schedule. Water infrequently at a slow rate to encourage deeply rooted plants.

Note that even drought tolerant plants will need sufficient watering until they get established. Small plants may establish in a year of two but large nursery grown trees may need three to five years to properly establish themselves.

Maintenance

Realize that xeriscape gardening will require some maintenance. Weeding, pruning, deadheading, and some watering will be necessary. The purpose of xeriscaping is primarily to conserve water and once plants are established they may require little or no maintenance. To minimize turf watering and fertilizing, leave turf grasses a minimum of 3 inches in height and leave the clippings to help conserve moisture and provide nutrients back to the soil. In the design phase, select plants that will not out grow their space. This will minimize excessive pruning and unnecessary maintenance which can be stressful to plants.